MUNICH, Germany Delphi says it has developed particularly thin wires for automotive wiring harnesses. The technology could help to significantly reduce the weight of this problematic part of a car's electrical system.
As a consequence of the cars' rising electronics content, cabling harnesses have grown from an insignificant part of a vehicle's electrical interior to the third heaviest part in modern cars, after motor and transmission. Since today a significant part of the design efforts aims at reducing the weight (and hence fuel consumption) of the vehicle, cable harnesses have attracted notice from designers.
Delphi Deutschland has succeeded to produce wires with a diameter of only 0.03 mm for automotive use. This contrasts strongly to the hitherto smallest diameter of 0.67 mm. The weight has been reduced according to the diameter, in particular since the engineers in Wuppertal (Germany) also have developed an insulating skin for the wires that is significantly thinner and more flexible in comparison to normal insulation. A third element of the design is the connector which snaps in in contrast to normal USB connectors.
Here's where we hit the limitations of the new wires. They are designed to transport signals, not power, a company spokesperson explained. Typically they are assembled in star quads, with two wires carrying power and the other two the signals as this is the case in USB connections, the spokesperson said. Thus, they only can be deployed in a relatively small portion of the cable harness, which limits the potential for weight reductions.
However, Delphi thinks this is a step towards the right direction. "Just now our customers are looking for solutions that enable them to make good on their promise to reduce fuel consumption of their cars," said Gerhard Mertes, General Manager Europe of Delphi's cable and harness division.